Friday, March 23, 2007

Missional Question Answers

I only had a couple answers to yesterdays post. But they both deserve a wider read. Here goes:

The Missional Position said...

Is there a place for Marketing in a missional church?
Yes there is a place for Marketing in the missional church. There is nothing wrong with using advertisement and marketing to get the word out about your church. Unless this is the primary or solitary way you attempt to reach people.

Is there a need to recruit more talent into the local church?
I don't know that you 'recruit' people but you certainly use the mediums at your disposal to get the message out. Proclamation of the Gospel through word and action is the mission. But if you use create arts, marketing, technology in the act of serving and reaching your community you will 'attract' creative types. Creativity can be used to draw people that the traditional church has (at least been perceived to have) ignored.

Is there a degree of attractional that a missional church must have?
I think attractional takes on a new role in missional. Instead of using events, hype, bait and switch type tactics missional churches become attractional because of the power of God at work in the community through the acts of the church and its members. Jesus' ministry certainly attracted people. Some where looking for a show, some a sign, but he attracted them none-the-less. I think you can be thoughtful AND missional AND attractional. Just as missional churches will look different than traditional churches so will how we use and define attraction.

I'm not sure these questions have easy answers, but what do you think? I think they are great questions worth thinking through. Relationships, the gospel, healing, grace, forgiveness, unconditional love, belonging, service, all of these things are attractive, all of them are marketable attributes, all of them are the heart beat of missional living.

Thorough going modernists have eschewed all things PoMo at the sake of maintaining cultural relevance. We as missional minded believers, leaders, and churches can not in turn completely divorce ourselves from everything that smacks of modernity. There is a balance and a thoughtfulness that needs to take place.

questions like:
what are some common sense rules we can apply to marketing within the missional church framework? listing your church in the phonebook is marketing, word of mouth is marketing, press releases are marketing.

what is a reasonable percentage of the missional churches budget that can be spent on marketing, what priority do we give, what amount of time and resources does it get? not the lions share of course.

what will missional marketing look, sound, feel, taste like?
maybe missional church marketing will be more grassroots, less conventional, less slick/corparate/commercial. maybe it will resemble guerilla marketing. maybe churches share resources similar to the creative commons movement to create artwork and design work that is culturally relevant and also cost effective, time saving so the missional church can use marketing without it draining but a fraction of the churches resources that can go to other areas.

these are my thoughts. i think about marketing whether i like it or not. It is simply being thoughtful and intentional about creating and shaping your communities perception of your church. The first resource in marketing is certainly your actions and your people and relationships. But if you simply think that people will get the message you think you are implying then you lose an opportunity to shape an explicite message as well.

Webb Kline said...

Now there are some fine remarks, missional position. I can't really add to them other than to reveal how some of these points are put to work in the framework of my own missional endeavors.

Marketing? Jerry, as you know, the Christmas Project and the church-outreach offshoot from that is much bigger than a good concert. It's intent is to #1. Raise money for our mission work. #2. Communicate the missional vision and challenge people all over the world to become the hands and feet of Jesus to those without hope.

The genre we have chosen appeals to the widest audience and is the most emotive in terms of being able to convey the passion of our mission.

This is, I suppose, marketing. I believe that the best way to market our missional wares is by engaging in them in ways that the public can begin to grasp what missional is all about.

Talent recruitment: This has perhaps been the most profound missional success story we have. Attractional mentality tends to utilize talents from within the institution. Is it any wonder that Christian arts seldom mirror the quality of that found in secular society? Duh! Secular projects don't limit themselves to a small resource pool. Likewise, if we seek talent and skills from outside our religious structures, we not only find the kind of talent we are looking for, but we are making disciples and leading these people into missional Christianity without them ever having to be weaned off of attractional ways. I can think of few methods of discipleship that can match the on the job training these folks are getting while working with us.

Degree of attractional? Well, of course the Christmas Project is an attraction. But it is an attraction that leaves people challenged to act, inspired to be Jesus to the world, invites them to join forces with us to change the world and equips them with the insights and information on how to go about doing it.

I haven't found anyone yet who hasn't found giving some or all of their time to bringing love, mercy and compassion to those who need it to be the purest, most realistic form of expressing their faith they have ever known. Few people outside of mainstream Christendom want to reject that kind of religion, rather, they want to embrace it. So, i would say that the attraction must be what we are doing. The attraction has to appeal to the innermost desire of the human spirit, which can only find purpose and fulfillment living outside of oneself, making the world better for everyone.

The problem with IC is that is tends to build an attraction that on the sinking sands of self gratification rather than on that which will build God's Kingdom.

So its time for more input from you. What do you think?

, , , ,


John said...

I don't like the wod "marketing." There's too much of a business model in that. Unfortunately too many pastors go beyond that part of the business model and bring in other parts too, like the Board of directors who have more influence than the elders. Instead of a family of elders and leaders, they have a staff. I'm not big on any of that.

But we do want to communicate what we are doing. I prefer storytelling. I believe in telling stories. Now there's all kind of ways to communicate stories like news releases, videos, blogs, etc.

Marketing smacks of manipulation to me. "p"s like product, placement, price, position,...
we're not selling anything. We're telling a story and whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.

That might be naive and reactionary on my part and that may change in the future, but right now that's where I am on that. I want to work with Jesus on what he's doing and share the story.

As for "recruiting" talent. My view on that is similar. We have to quit trying to focus on our methods and instead focus on prayer. Aren't we instructed to pray the Lord of the Harvest for laborers. As we do, if God wants us to take specific steps, he'll show me.

I've never successfully gone out looking for people to do ministry with me. When I have, I failed. Yet the Lord brings people to me.

I don't have a problem with the concept of being attractional as long as it doesn't lead to inward focus and away from being incarnational. If I could have a building downtown to use to bring the homeless to so that we could help- I would.

Jesus was very much attractional in many ways. He healed the sick, cast out devils. That drew people to him.

But if the idea of being attractional is simply feel good with no life transformation... then it's just marketing :-)

Barry said...

There is a lot to be said for a happy song. You know what I mean, one of those songs that just makes you smile. Recently I heard the JCPenney: "Today's the Day" Commercial. The next time I heard it I listened more closely. The third time I told my children that they had to be quiet for the ad. They thought I was really strange. So I looked it up and found out it is "How can It Be" by Forever Thursday.

I hate iTunes and refuse to use their stupid site. but being a pragmatic man I had my wife Jodi download it for me. I insist on paying for all my music so I buy CDs and put them on my computer. When CDs are not an option I pester Jodi... oh well.

Link to the ad:

So what does all this have to do with this thread. Somebody at saatchi & saatchi cranked up my soft spot and now I am far more likely to shop at JC Penny at my local mall. I am thinking of some clothes and now I have a reason to look at JC Penny even though the ad was not for clothes in any direct way. So if you can use marketing like saatchi & saatchi did you can open ears and prepare them to hear your story i.e. the Gospel. Marketing as a mean to an end is good if the end is the Gospel. If marketing your church is the way to a gold rolex then it is bad.
Thank you,
Barry O'Connell